"It's just something that comes natural," said Carla Campbell, the foulmouthed breakout hero of "Love Fraud," a Showtime docuseries about a romantic con man and the women who banded together to bring him to justice.
Since 1993, Campbell, a bounty hunter, has apprehended hundreds of individuals who have failed to appear in court after being bailed out of jail. But her pet cause is bringing down men who've wronged women.
"There is nothing more satisfying," she said. "When you look for somebody for so long, and then you get them — that's like getting that first hot, yeasty cinnamon roll out of Grandma's oven."
Campbell was not paid to appear on "Love Fraud." She offered her services pro bono to the women who appear in the series, so moved was she by their stories of deceit, fraud and violence by the "nickel-and-dime" con man Richard Scott Smith. Smith was convicted of identity theft for using a girlfriend's information to apply for a credit card, which he then used for personal purchases.
Campbell tracked down Smith, and he served 10 months in jail. By the final episode, Smith had served his sentence and was out in the world again, picking up new girlfriends to use to his financial advantage.
"If there was a Round 2 that happened to kick off because we've got enough evidence on new women and we've got new charges coming against him, would I do it again? Absolutely," she said. "I'm completely in. I want this settled."
Campbell, 60, was raised with three older biological brothers and a rotation of foster siblings in Versailles, Mo., a town of 2,500 that serves as the gateway to Lake of the Ozarks. "I had a rough childhood because it was 'be one of the boys or you didn't get to play at all,' " Campbell said. "Kicking their butt or getting my butt kicked, you just get mean."
One night, when a 30-something Campbell was tending bar in Virginia (where her husband, Wes Campbell, was stationed in the military), she witnessed a customer hit his girlfriend. She tackled him to the ground, catching the attention of another patron, who asked Campbell if she'd ever considered bounty hunting.
She described the process of bounty hunting: "I call local police and tell them we are bounty hunting in their area. Give them the name of the person. Then they tell us to 'have fun, stay safe,' and if we need them, call. They are always good backup for us. I've only called for them two times in 20 years. That's because we were shot at."
In January, Campbell was diagnosed with lung cancer and has been receiving chemotherapy. Meanwhile, she has been training another woman to take over for her at Mannie's Bonding Co. in Olathe, Kan., where her husband also works. "If I've got to have somebody subdue a female, I don't need my guy touching that female, right?" she said.
Campbell has been married to Wes for 38 years. "My dad paid him $500 to walk away from the wedding," she said. "And he put the money in his pocket and walked up to the altar anyway."